Bake Off, dragons, and apples in balloons...

SO, Tuesday night and my Facebook feed's full of one thing - Bake Off. Of the Great British Variety. The previous few weeks the subject had largely been 'is it okay, since it moved to Channel 4' with the overwhelming feeling seeming to be ' I still like it, hooray, but is that wrong, am I being disloyal to the BBC?'

Now, it might be worth pointing out at this point that I never really watched the BBC version, but that was partly due to my aversion to Sue of Mel and Sue fame. At least I think it's Sue, never was quite sure, they're a bit like Ant & Dec in that you're never 100% certain which one's which unless you're a proper fan. And it largely stems back to their horrendous lunchtime programme, whatever it was called, Late Lunch, Rubbish Lunch, Disappointing Lunch, something like that.... on which she annoyed me immensely. 

Anyway, for that reason, it wasn't ever viewing of choice. Sometimes it was on in the background, occasionally the kids watched it, but it never happened. But I did, due to the sheer terrible choice on prime time TV on Tuesday a few weeks ago, start watching it.... and do you know what, I can vaguely see why people do enjoy it.

To be fair, some of the creations are incredible. They're kind of sculpting anything out of anything in a cake form. You want a lion cake with a coffee cake head and a walnut cake body, attacking a peppermint zebra, you got it....  clearly that didn't happen. But someone did create a remarkable-looking bag out of bread.

One programme I've always enjoyed is Dragon's Den... and this week the Dragons were presented with an innovative packaging solution. Two guys had created a packaging format which effectively used a thin film and filled it with air to create the packaging. They seemed to think it could be used for a variety of things, including food - they were deliberating the shelf-life of perishable goods for example. I guess I could see how it might work, effectively you're creating a vacuum around the product so no air gets in and no air gets out.

But the problem would be this.... who's going to buy an apple that's effectively trapped inside a transparent balloon? I can see how it might work for, say, a book that Amazon was despatching. Lightweight, little to recycle, and protects it from damage. But it's not going to work for a pineapple.... if you're interested, they didn't get the investment. As soon as they revealed to the Dragons that the machine to do the packaging was into the hundreds of thousands of pounds I'm afraid they got pretty short thrift......

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

Environment left counting the costa coffee cups

SO last night I watched Hugh Fernly-What's-his-face on the BBC. I forget the exact name of the programme, ought to be called Britain's Recycling Hell or something of that ilk, Counting the Costa Coffee, How to Save a Few (Star) Bucks. Something like that. I started watching it through lack of anything else to watch.... and ended up feeling pretty outratged.

For anyone who didn't see it, the UK's coffee chains (largely Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero) - along with Amazon in a separate issue - got a bit of a hammering. For the coffee chains it was over one thing. Their cups. Which despite their protestations, misleading statements and ambigous policies are not, it would seem, recyclable.

I mean, they are recyclable.... if you have a very specific recycling facility available, which there isn't. And so they aren't, not really. But of course they are, technically, which it seems has allowed them to suggest to the public at large that they are recyclable because they technically are. But of course the public thinks if something is recyclable, then it is recycled, regularly by many people. Which this isn't.

Follow? In summary, they're not recyclable because only one plant in the UK can take those sort of cups, because of the 'plastic film' used to make them water-tight. And that plant hardly does any. We have a similar situation at Sirane with nylon packaging. We get asked 'is nylon recyclable?'.... well technically yes, if there's a nylon recycling faciilty in your town or city. Which is shorthand for 'no, not really'. If there's one recycling plant in Uzbekistan, and I sell a nylon bag to a man in Stockholm, it's a bit rich for me to try and claim that the bag is recyclable. 

As they showed on the programme, it is possible to make take-away cup which is recyclable. So why don't they... probably because it would cost another penny per cup, and so because they have been allowed to get away with it, they don't in order to save money. I guess in a year, whatever the difference is (1p was entirely my supposition...) it adds up.

It will be interesting to see this one pan out. He won his battle last year on wonky veg, persuading a number of supermarkets to start selling 'less than perfect' veg and some to relax their stringent guidance for growers, which has stopped so much perfectly healthy veg being thrown away or left to rot in the fields. He did so by getting the public on board. I suspect he might win this one too in the long-term.

And for anyone interested in what the section of the programme on Amazon was about, it was boxed. Ludicrously oversized boxes.

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING 

  • Oven/BBQ cooking bags - Sira-Cook Supreme

    Read more

  • Absorbent meat pads - Dri-Fresh

    Read more

  • Absorbent pads for fresh fruit - Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold

    Read more

  • Oven/microwave steam-cooking bags - Sira-Cook Self-Seal

    Read more

  • Dividers for better food presentation - Sira-Form non-ovenable boards

    Read more

  • Absorbent pads for wet-cheeses - Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold

    Read more

  • Deli-bags for keeping food fresh - Sira-Flex Deli-Bags

    Read more

  • Multi-compartment microwave steam-cooking bags - Sira-Cook Smart-Release

    Read more

  • Nylon oven-roasting bags and films - Sira-Cook Siralon

    Read more

  • Absorbent fish/seafood crate liners - Dri-Fresh Sea-Fresh SP

    Read more

  • Absorbent oven-grill liners - Dri-Fresh Fat-Traps

    Read more

  • Thinking-Cooking - Sirane's own retail range

    Read more

  • Read our full food packaging catalogue online

    Read more

Follow us @SiraneLtd...

    Sirane's divisions - food packaging, medical, horticultural and industrial

    Sirane Ltd. Stafford Park 6, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 3AT. Telephone +44 (0)1952 230055